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Chinese Premier vows “sea of peace” with neighbours
June 21, 2014, 5:43 am

In this Thursday, May 15, 2014 photo, China Coast Guard vessels sail in the waters claimed by China and Vietnam in the South China Sea [AP]

In this Thursday, May 15, 2014 photo, China Coast Guard vessels sail in the waters claimed by China and Vietnam in the South China Sea [AP]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said in Athens that Beijing is committed to settling maritime disputes through dialogues and negotiations.

“China firmly supports any act that safeguards marine peace and order, and firmly opposes any act that undermines marine peace and order,” he said a day after China’s top state councilor Yang Jiechi held talks with the Vietnamese leadership in Hanoi.

Li has said stability is the priority and that “expansion is not in the Chinese DNA”.

Anxiety is rising in the troubled waterway of the Paracel islands called Xisha islands by the Chinese, in the South China Sea where Vietnam and China hold contesting claims. China has sent a second oil rig to the disputed site to aid in the oil drilling operation of China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

The two countries have frequently traded diplomatic barbs over oil exploration and fishing rights in the contested waters.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has said it would like Washington to play a bigger role in the region.

“We would like the U.S. to continue to have a stronger voice, as well as more practical and constructive actions to contribute to the peace, stability, security and safety of seas in the region and to solve regional disputes by international law,”Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said recently.

The US is reportedly considering lifting an arms embargo against Vietnam even as tensions rise with China.

Meanwhile, proposing to jointly build a “sea of peace” with other countries, the Chinese Premier said during his visit to Greece that China is “willing to work with maritime states to actively forge a marine cooperative partnership to build sea lanes, develop marine economy and use marine resources, among other endeavors”.

 

TBP and Agencies

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